Perspective

Perspective is one of those words I’ve thought about having etched on my tombstone. You may not know it, but for most of junior high through college years, I mowed a cemetery on the bluff overlooking my rural Nebraska hometown. On those muggy summer days when I mowed around hundreds of tombstones with both a riding and push mower and then manicured stone markers closely with hand clippers and even by plucking, I learned a thing or two about perspective, perseverance, and perspiration—all part of being resilient. (I still have mild calluses at the base of my fingers from years from squeezing manual grass clippers. Wish I had a Weed Whacker back then!!)

IMG_0352 - Version 3There was something mind-cleansing about cruising along on my mighty mower in the open edges of that cemetery and looking out of the farmlands and my hometown a couple miles in the distance. Summer after summer I could zip along glued to the slightly padded mower seat and work on my tan, all the while refreshing my view of everyday life. Somehow alone, except for the hundreds of early settlers and townsfolk now silent in their graves, I could muddle through my problems (catching the eye of cute guys, understanding algebra, improving my volleyball serve, lining up my new fall wardrobe, helping choreograph swing choir moves . . . and on an on).

Perspective. It’s the ability to look underneath and all around at the people and circumstances of life to see the big picture. Or as one dictionary states, “a view or vista; the ability to perceive things in their actual interrelations and comparative importance.” Like my days on that vista above my hometown, I daily need to pause and refresh my view of what’s truly important and what has eternal value.

I  like what British rabbi Jonathan Sacks says happens when people pause to turn to God throughout the day. “We recover perspective. We inhale a deep breath of eternity.” Recovering our perspective each day makes us more brave and resilient for tomorrow and increases our capacity to exhale the here and now and inhale deep breaths of eternity.

What helps you gain perspective? I’d love to hear what works well for you.

Brave & Resilient Tip #19: Recover perspective one deep breath of eternity at a time.